A road trip for California is almost always foreboding, especially for an Eastern Conference team. Maybe it will help turn around the Tampa Bay Lightning instead?
They’ve won the first two games so far, and now they’re getting Tyler Johnson back to try to sweep through “The Golden State.”
The speedy, if banged-up forward will play against the Los Angeles Kings tonight after missing three games without (the Lightning won’t even bother to tell us).
Johnson’s dealt with some serious peaks and valleys, but this would be a great time to get healthy and start piling up points. He started cold last season, so maybe this is the beginning of a big turnaround?
The Bolts will settle for him helping them beat the Kings, really.
How many people expected this sort of start to the season for New Jersey Devils like Mike Cammalleri, especially if you exclude the David Puddys of the world?
Cammalleri and a handful of Devils scorers were the driving force of New Jersey’s 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers, just as they continue to score at a staggering rate for this team.
For Cammalleri, it’s an astounding 30 points in just 27 games, including his current hot streak which continued with a goal and assist on Sunday.
It’s not that unusual to see a team with an uneven distribution of scoring – plenty are basically two lines and little else – but it’s surprising to see just how productive the Devils’ very few scorers have been.
Cammalleri is at 30, but he’s far from alone.
Adam Henrique‘s at 23 points. Lee Stempniak scored his sixth goal and 21st point after needing to try out. Relative cast-off Kyle Palmieri generated his 11th goal and Adam Henrique is really fulfilling his promise.
And, again, the Devils aren’t getting much else. Beyond that group of five scorers including Travis Zajac, no other Devil is in double digits in points.
Yes, that’s a little scary for New Jersey’s season-long hopes … but wow, who even saw this coming?
And how much of it has to do with new head coach John Hynes?
More: Are the Devils this season’s 2014-15 Calgary Flames?
Fair or not, goalies are paid in part to bail their teams out when they make mistakes.
Arizona’s netminders Mike Smith and Anders Lindback have failed in the role of escape valves more than most pairings so far this season, something that Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett admitted after Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
That’s not to say that Tippett threw the netminders under the bus alone, mind you.
Indeed, it would be foolish to pin it all on Smith and Lindback, even with Smith’s paycheck stinging a team that needs to make every buck count.
Arizona came into Sunday in the bottom third in save percentage, yet their possession stats are just as bad (if not worse).
The Coyotes were a fairly popular pick as the worst team in the NHL coming into 2015-16, but that doesn’t ease Tippett’s frustrations. Sometimes the reality of the situation stinks even if most saw it coming a mile away.
It’s tougher to foresee what Tippett can do to improve things, beyond … being patient?
Patrick Kane now stands alone with the longest point streak in Chicago Blackhawks franchise history.
He scored a point in his 22nd consecutive contest, edging legend Bobby Hull in the process. It came as he assisted on Artemi Panarin‘s empty-net goal, which iced a 3-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Watch that moment in action:
It was an eventful game for the Blackhawks. Trevor Daley was the victim of a freakish accident of a collision, which you can watch here. Bryan Bickell made his presence felt at former Blackhawk Dustin Byfuglien‘s expense.
Kane will get a chance to extend his streak to 23 games when Chicago faces the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
Bickell provided a weird quote to tie things up:
You know that whole “Hockey players are tough” thing that rivets some and annoys others? Add another example to that big file.
When Kyle Turris got tangled up with an opposing player in a scary scene on Saturday, plenty of people wondered if the Ottawa Senators lost their top center for some time.
Apparently some time really just translates to the equivalent of a few shifts, as Turris is remarkably able to participate in Ottawa’s game against the New York Rangers tonight.
Wow. It seems reasonable for mortals to wonder how, exactly, he’s bouncing back so fast.
Impressive stuff either way.